30 Jun 2022

Thursday 30 June 2022

An idea that informs my practice is that teaching needs to be the whole package: if you don't understand the student's background, what they're going through, or their family, sometimes there's just no getting through to them. If you just understand their background, that might give you a better picture of how to help facilitate their learning to get better outcomes.



My philosophy partly comes from my Polynesian heritage - growing up, it was always about family, whanau and community, rather than an individualistic approach. Everything is community. 

I started learning to play the violin when I was five years old, taking lessons and playing in orchestras. A lot of my training was done with the Manukau Symphony Orchestra, where I got to play alongside some amazing musicians and also learn to relate to people of all different ages from all over the world. Respect is a two-way thing, and sometimes it’s as simple as unlearning what you think you know about a certain culture and just listening without judging. 

I hope my students perceive me as a passionate lover of music. That's actually what I am. I love music, and being able to share it either on the stage or in the classroom is the most beautiful thing for me. I’m passionate about music, and I’m also passionate about them. I care for them as humans first before as musicians. 

In my classroom, I want my students to feel safe. I’ve got a playlist for every class – the students fill out a survey for me that asks who their favourite artists and bands are, and their favourite songs. I collate all of that and create a playlist on Spotify, which I play as they’re walking into class. I want them to enjoy coming to class. For me, I love playing my music, and if I’m hearing the music that I love, I’m going to have a good time. I try and engage them that way, right from when they walk in. 

I use the same music for their learning as well – we’ll analyse the songs, look at the structure and so on. It means they’re more engaged because they really like that music and already listen to it. I just help them take that one step further, towards actively listening.  

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